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Library Research Support: How do I...?

Support for Research Staff & Research Students

Overview: Evaluating Research Visibility: How do I...?

This page provides guidance and tutorials for how to get access, use and correct some of the key metrics you be familiar with, are asked to provide (by journals, colleagues, funders) or come across elsewhere. This includes:

  • Author-level metrics: How to calculate frequently used metrics, or find other measures of research visibility and impact at the author level.
  • Article level metrics: How to find and track the citation and wider impact of research outputs.

Please see our Responsible Metrics Guide for guidance on using publication and citation research indicators responsibly and appropriately, or our overview of bibliometric indicators guide for information about different metrics available. If you need any further help, please contact us directly.

Please note: This page is under development and we are in the process of creating and adding new content. If there is anything you would like to see added to this page, please contact us with suggestions.

Article level metrics: Find and track citations to a known article

Why might you want to find and track citations for a known article?
  • To keep up to date with newly published research citing a known publication, and how it has been considered within wider scholarly debate.
  • To be kept up to date with who is reading and citing your own publications.
  • Each citation might be from a potential collaboration opportunity or competitor.

Key sources

There are five key sources of publication citation data:


Things to consider
  • No single database indexes all scholarly output.
  • Most citation indexes are less comprehensive in their coverage of the arts & humanities than for STEM subjects.
  • Most citation indexes are less comprehensive in their coverage of non-journal publication formats.
  • Google Scholar's coverage beyond STEM subjects may be better, and will also offer better coverage of grey literature, but inclusion criteria are less stringent and less transparent than most academic databases: content includes some 'predatory' journals, duplicate citations and false citations. See our blog post on citation counts in Google Scholar.
  • A publication may cite another publication for a range of reasons. Citations are not equal.
  • Citations should be seen as an approximation of the impact, or reach, of a publication, rather than a measure for the 'quality' of a paper.
Web of Science

Web of Science can be accessed here.

Web of Science Core Collection provides a collection of citation indexes covering over 21,000 journals, books and conference proceedings. The video below shows you how to run a cited reference search within the database.


Scopus

Scopus can be accessed here.

Scopus claims to be the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, providing access to over 22,000 active titles. The video below shows you how to view citing and related articles within Scopus.


Dimensions (free)

Dimensions can be accessed here.

Dimensions provides access through its free service to over 100 million publications (including published articles, books and book chapters, preprints and conference proceedings). The video below provides an overview of the service, and the citation, altmetric and other related information it provides.


Google Scholar

Google Scholar can be accessed here.

Google Scholar is a search engine focussed on scholarly and professional research literature. You can see citing articles under results from any search in Google Scholar.

You can also use freely available software such as Publish or Perish to quickly view and re-order citing articles, alongside other citation metrics.

Screenshot: Google Scholar results showing link to citing articles

 

Article level metrics: See the wider impact of a known article

Why might you want to view the wider impact of a known article?
  • Citations in traditional scholarly publications can take time to appear in the published record.
  • Traditional 'scholarly impact' metrics provide information on who has cited a work in a peer-reviewed article, but do not consider who else is reading, sharing, discussing or commenting outside of traditional publication channels.
  • Knowing who is discussing and sharing your research can help identify potential academic and non-academic collaborations.
  • Indicators of use outside of academic circles can help identify pathways to (and potential sources of evidence) for the wider impact of your research.
  • It’s often nice to know someone is reading/talking about your research!
  • See our Altmetrics Guide for further information.

Key sources
  • Altmetric.com: provides various tools for researchers, including:
    • Plugins for websites to highlight attention your publications have received.
    • A browser 'bookmarklet' which allows you to quickly see the altmetric data for publications you discover on the web.
    • An institutional explorer for viewing altmetric data at an author, department or institutional level.
  • PlumX Metrics: now integrated within Scopus, Science Direct, Ebsco databases and other services, provides authors and researchers information on how a publication has been shared, mentioned, used and cited.

Things to consider
  • Altmetrics can help a researcher understand how publications are being shared or communicated, and the level of attention outside of academic circles it might be receiving - but high levels of attention does not mean the article is important or of high quality.
  • Articles which are open access or free to read are easier to share and comment on than articles locked by subscription journal paywalls.
  • Papers talking about diet, religion, popular archaeological discoveries (think Pyramids, Richard III or human evolutionary discoveries), cancer and other common health ailments are regular features in the altmetric top 100. Papers talking about chemical structures, complex mathematical modelling and theoretical physics - less so.
  • Altmetrics are often useful indicators of pathways to impact, or sources of impact. They are not (usually) evidence of impact in and of themselves.
Altmetric Bookmarklet

You can access and install the Altmetric Bookmarklet here.

Altmetric.com provides a free browser plugin for researchers, allowing you to quickly view and access the altmetric data for many articles you might find online, at the click of a button. The video below shows how this works.

Visit our Altmetrics Guide for further information about Altmetric Explorer for Institutions, which provides views of altmetric data at an author, department or institution level (Coming Q4 of 2020).


PlumX Metrics

PlumX Metrics, owned by Elsevier, are another provider of altmetric data. You can often see data from PlumX Metrics in databases such as Scopus, Science Direct, or some of those hosted on the Ebscohost platform (Business Source Complete, Anthropology Plus, PsycINFO, British Education Index, etc.)

You can also quickly see PlumX data using the tip below:

For any article with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), just type https://plu.mx/a/?doi= , followed by the DOI, into your browser to see altmetric data from PlumX Metrics...

For example: https://plu.mx/a/?doi=10.1002/14651858.cd003177.pub.


Dimensions (free)

Dimensions can be accessed here.

Dimensions provides access through its free service to over 100 million publications (including published articles, books and book chapters, preprints and conference proceedings). The video below provides an overview of the service, and the citation, altmetric and other related information it provides.


Kudos

Kudos can be accessed here.

Kudos provides a free service, with simple tools and guidance to help increase the visibility of your research, and monitor and track the wider impact through citation and altmetric data.


Author-level metrics: Calculate my h-index

Why might you want to find out or calculate your h-index?
  • The h-index is a widely recognised metric, aiming to provide a measure of productivity and citation impact of (usually) an author.
  • Many academics, particularly in the Sciences and Social Sciences, know their h-index and may include it in funding, recruitment or progression applications.
  • You may find you are asked for your h-index in various circumstances, from submitting an application for promotion or employment, to funding applications and even when submitting a manuscript for publication.


 

Sources

Your h-index will vary, dependent upon the source of data used to calculate it. You should always use a source of data which is comprehensive in terms of coverage of your publication output, and the output which cites it. Key sources include:

  • Scopus
  • Web of Science
  • Google Scholar

Things to Consider
  • You should always feel confident to question why you are being asked to provide your h-index, as it may not be appropriate or relevant as an indicator of your research or productivity potential.
  • The h-index is not an appropriate metric for comparing researchers of differing career lengths or across different disciplines or fields of study.
  • The h-index does not fully account for very highly cited papers.
  • As an author, your h-index in Scopus may be different to your h-index in Web of Science or Google Scholar: Any reference to an h-index should indicate the source of the data from which it was derived.
  • The h-index does not give any depth or granularity of information to distinguish between many different authors:
    • An author with 500 papers, each of which has received 1 citation, will have an h-index of 1.
    • An author who has only published 1 paper, but that paper has attracted over 3,000 citations, will have an h-index of 1.
    • An author who has published several papers, 1 of which has attracted 30 citations, but the others of which have attracted 0 or 1 citations each, will have an h-index of 1.
    • An author who has not published (or drawn breath, or both) in 20 years will not have an h-index decrease, but may have an h-index which continues to increase.
    • An h-index of 15 in one discipline may be seen as exceptionally high, but in another discipline as below average.
Scopus

Scopus can be accessed here.

Scopus claims to be the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, providing access to over 22,000 active titles.

Viewing the h-index for an author: An author profile within Scopus displays the h-index, calculated from the publications associated with that author profile.

Screenshot: Scopus author profile with h-index highlighted

 

For a set of publications: 

  • You can create a citation overview from any set of outputs which you have found within Scopus. This will include a calculation of the h-index for that publication set.
  • This might be useful for calculating the h-index for a research group, or a set of outputs resulting from a single research project which don't all have a single author in common.
  • Scopus Support: How do I create a Citation Overview.
  • Alternatively, you can create a custom publication set within SciVal (which uses Scopus data) to view a range of publications for that publication set. See our Guide on SciVal for further information on how to access SciVal.
Web of Science

Web of Science can be accessed here.

Web of Science Core Collection provides a collection of citation indexes covering over 21,000 journals, books and conference proceedings. The video below shows you how to run a citation analysis for any set of publications you have searched for or created within Web of Science.



Web of Science has also introduced a new Author Search tool (still in BETA as of September 2020), which is similar to the author profiles available within Scopus (in that they are initially automatically generated, but can be claimed by an author and maintained).

Screenshot: Web of Science author profile

Google Scholar

You can create an author profile within Google Scholar, and it will automatically calculate both your h-index and h5-index (your h-index limited to only publications published and citations received within the last 5 years) from the publications associated with your author profile.

It is worth noting that citation counts, and metrics derived from them, are nearly always higher in Google Scholar than in other data sources. Our blog post here explores the reasons why this is.

Google Scholar screenshot: H-index

 

Manually calculating your h-index.

If you really want to, you can also calculate your h-index using pen and paper, or a spreadsheet. This short video (no sound) provides an overview of the h-index, and how to calculate it for any (preferably not too large) set of publications you know the citation counts for.


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